For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Common Coral Tree (Erythrina lysistemon)

The common Coral tree is a medium sized deciduous tree occurring in the bushveld and coastal areas.
Red flowers form just before the leaves appear and fruiting is from September to February. The flowers attract Sunbirds and insects which then attract insect eating birds. Woodpeckers and Barbets like to nest in these trees. The leaves are compound with three heart-shaped leaflets.
The bark is used for treating rheumatism and arthritis. Crushed leaves are used to reduce inflammation on septic sores. Burnt bark powder is used to reduce inflammation on open sores. Toothache is treated with an infusion made from boiled or soaked bark. To relieve earache an infusion of the leaves can be used as ear drops.
Kudu, Nyala, Elephant, Klipspringer, and black rhino, browse the leaves. Vervet monkeys and baboons eat the flowers.

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